One - Begin all your partnerships discussions with a Memorandum
Partnerships can fail to generate anything for either party simply because expectations weren’t set and a plan was never created.
- List out why you align - persona’s, markets, geo.
- Where are you going to promote one another? When?
- What’s the end goal of the partnership? And what is that going to take?
Two - Start with a co-marketing campaign to build synergy and create an audience
Too many partnerships are started with the ask of “What can you do for me?” When a true partnership should start with the question of “What can we do for each other?”
- Guest posts
- Expert interviews
Three - Prior to any larger co-marketing campaigns, map accounts
Account mapping is the first step to co-selling. It’s where you both load your customers and prospects (or sync CRM) to a secure third party software like Reveal to see if there is overlap, and view the size of the audiences on both sides (potential exposure).
Both parties have the view of the overlap and watch that as you run your co-marketing of the content to each others’ audiences. Success can be determined by the value of the new leads that came from the partner, and tracked using this software/process.
Four - Set alerts in Sales Navigator when your tech partner hires a new CS or salesperson
CS are often those who refer to agency partners the most, followed by Salespeople. They can only support the user/prospect so much. The rest comes from service providers they know do great work with their solution.
1. Save the accounts (partner company names)
2. Set an alert for new hires under the title of CS / sales / BD and/or Partnerships.
3. Send that person a link to your agency profile document (links, services, client persona, goals…)
Here’s an article on setting these alerts >>
Five - Stage out the partnership in task list Gantt format
We run client services in our project management solutions, why not do the same with our partnerships? Tech partnerships progress in the same flow. Put them all into a PM tool, and run them. This will ensure you are progressing and committing to grow revenue.
Vetting backlog >> Tinkering >> Demo >> Co-Marketing >> Partner Memorandum >> PRM Onboarding >> Product Training >> Co-Selling >> Trusted Partner
Six - Create a course that includes multiple tech partners
Courses can be great lead-gen for agencies. Further, they can be enormous for technology who simply can’t teach their users what to do after the tool is setup up (that’s your job). Aligning with a few tech partners on a curriculum that would increase retention for their solution, as well as bring you both new prospects, is a great way to partner.
- Write up the general outline.
- Pick out a few classes that can mention and even show how to use a certain solution.
- Reach out to the partner teams at those tools as ask what they can do to support your agency in the creation of the course + marketing it (sponsorship, designing assets, linking to it…)
- Give free seats to users of your tech partners.
- Create a co-marketing agenda with your partners.
- When you have aligned, launch the course.
Seven - Track the right partnerships-influenced KPIs
Pipeline velocity is the first to monitor. That is, how much faster are clients moving through the pipeline now that you have the co-marketing, co-selling and increased support from your new partner… And, another great KPI, is overall engagement on partner-led events. These are events that partners invite you to, or events you put on together. Monitor the RSVPs and show rate (not including clients of yours who show). These two are great partner success indicators.
Eight - Lean on partners for assets and copy
We’ve heard from several agencies that they’d love to market their affiliation and work to get more clients onto services that include the technology partner. But, they don’t have the internal resources to allocate towards designing assets and coming up with copy… These are all things your tech partner should be providing you. My best tech clients have un-branded resource folders their partners can grab, add their logo, and start using in their services pitch.
- Designed ads
- Pitch decks
- Product comparisons
- Marketing materials
- Landing page and email copy
Nine - For collaborative events - require you host the landing page
This is a strategy for those agencies who are in sales mode. When partners ask you to lead a webinar or other virtual event, where you are going to be leaned on to present, ask to host the landing page on your site or your events platform. It won’t always fly, or make sense, but in the right circumstances, it will mean much higher returns because you gain:
- Traffic to your site
- Opt in emails for your list
- Higher thought leadership than if you were seen as a guest
Ten - Finally, consider productizing services and white labeling for other agencies
Productizing is when you take the standardized services you know are rinse / repeat, putting a price tag on them, then listing them on the pricing page. This is a bigger strategy, sales, and ops shift, but agencies like our friend Richard at Six & Flow, Penguin Strategies, Flow Candy (eCommerce) have adopted with huge success. When your productize your services, there is a tool (or two) that are embedded in those services you may require clients to have or get. This brings opportunity to get referrals from the sales and CS people at said tech partner(s).
The next step to that is selling the productized service to other agencies. Then, you truly become a huge resource for your tech partners to help their new agencies sell more.
Here's a great example of productizing your services: https://www.penguinstrategies.com/penguin-hubspot-implementation-services